Rotary, Audi Pensacola, IHMC first to invest in early learning decals

  • April 6, 2018
  • /   Shannon Nickinson
  • /   early-learning,education
Make Play Smart decals

The more words a child hears before the age of 4, the stronger the connections in his or her brain will be and the more likely that child is to be ready for school. 

The Studer Community Institute’s work supports efforts to teach parents, families, and caregivers about the important role that talk and interaction play in early brain development. 

One way we do that is through the design and installation of decals that support early learning and kindergarten readiness skills in public spaces and play areas. These decals reinforce concepts that will be important for children when they start school. Skills like counting, letter naming, shape and color identification are built into the design of these decals. 

Three outstanding community partners — Cantonment Rotary Club, Audi Pensacola and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition — are among the first to sponsor these decals in public play spaces to help families link play time with early learning skills crucial for healthy brain development.

Cristina Williams, vice president of Kool Graphics, is proud to be SCI’s partner in the decal project.

“What we love about being part of this project is that our children are our future,” Williams said. “We wanted to make a difference in their lives. We believe this teaches children to play together and builds their minds at a young age, which gives them the fundamentals in life to be successful as they grow older.”

Cantonment Rotary Club is sponsoring nine decals in Carver Park, a neighborhood park on Webb Street in Cantonment.

Club President Bobby King said the project was a great match for Rotary’s commitment to community, education and improving the lives of children.

“The research of Studer Community Institute on becoming an effective Early Learning City shows that focusing on early brain development of the children in our community will help tremendously,” King said. “The Make Play Smart decals will reach children and engage their minds while having fun playing at the same time.  

“Carver Park has been recently renovated through the efforts of Cantonment Improvement Community (CIC),” King said. “Their organization is dedicated to helping the children by improving this community. Their efforts and dedication inspired us.  For us at Cantonment Rotary, this was an easy and clear decision to utilize our Rotarian grant for this project. It is a piece of the puzzle in making a difference.  Seeing the smile on a child’s face while learning and interacting with the decals is special.”

Audi Pensacola will sponsor a set of decals at Roger Scott Athletic Complex. The decals are natural fit with the company’s support of youth and youth sports, says spokeswoman Karen Mann. 

“Audi Pensacola’s General Manager Jimmy Herlocker began establishing relationships in the community in February of 2017 before we opened for business in May,” Mann said. “In our quest to meet people and find ways to become involved in the community we were introduced to the Studer Community Institute and its Early Learning Initiative. This opportunity to be a part of the country’s first Early Learning City seemed like the perfect fit with our support of area youth and youth sports leagues.

“We’re really excited to get it all started,” Mann said. “The Early Learning decals in Wahoos stadium helped solidify our decision to support the decals in public parks decision. It all seems to fit together perfectly. Audi hopes to expand our involvement in the community ever year.”

The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition is sponsoring a set of decals at the Legion Field/Theo May Community Center complex. The supersized map of U.S. States will provide a fun way for parents and children to interact and learn together, said Julie Sheppard, general counsel for IHMC.

“We love the concept of the Early Learning Center,” Sheppard said. “The decals are a wonderful way to create educational experiences throughout our community by making learning fun not only for the kids but also the adults.”

For more information or to apply for one of these decals, email [email protected] 

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